With the opening of the new W Amsterdam next month, W Hotels has shifted the design of the larger guest suites to be more like event spaces with full bars, retro fireplaces, extensive seating options, and sophisticated entertainment systems.
This trend has been brewing for a few years. It began during the height of the recession when hotels were having trouble selling their most expensive rooms. Around the same time, meeting planners were seeing a rise in demand from their groups for lifestyle hotels and more creative venue options beyond the traditional ballroom and breakout spaces.
So with the excess of empty room inventory, hotel group sales staff began selling their largest suites for use as private pop-up cocktail lounges, which also typically have much better views than average meeting space.
Last year, we spoke with Marylouise Fitzgibbon, GM of W Fort Lauderdale, who told us, “We have these spectacular condos with patios that can hold 50 people. So we’ve seen a huge rise in planners saying, “I know you have the junior ballroom and I know you have your studio room available, but I’d rather use one of these converted suites because it feels really unique.”
The W Amsterdam is the first hotel in the brand to really run with this trend by designing its Wow Suites as purpose-built party rooms. According to Ted Jacobs, VP of global brand design at W Hotels, companies are asking for more of these suites to host product launches, media events, VIP receptions, and private screenings.
“At W we design our suites to be compelling event and social spaces, which just happen to have a great bed and bath,” he told us. “These spaces are additional opportunities to surprise our guests with design and programming that brings alive the brand’s passion points of fashion, music and design, all through the lens of the hotel’s unique location.”